Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia experience widespread chronic pain accompanied by other symptoms such as stiffness, fatigue, migraines, and sleep disorders. It causes pain throughout the body with tenderness in muscles, joints, and other soft tissues. The good news about fibromyalgia is that it can be managed through medical care and contemporary treatments. Massage therapy is an alternative treatment that can help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is one of the ancient forms of healthcare that has been used to relieve muscle tension, ease pain, and improve blood circulation. This article looks at how massage therapy can help with fibromyalgia and what to expect during the session.
Massage Techniques used to Treat Fibromyalgia
- Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is a hands-on technique that combines a series of methods such as gliding, kneading, friction, and sliding. It increases blood flow to areas of the body with limited oxygen and deprived nutrients. The techniques involved in a Swedish massage not only helps to relieve pain but also eliminates stress and promotes relaxation.
- Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are painful spots in your body that are located in bands of muscle fibers. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia tend to have painful spots that can cause many discomforts. Trigger point therapy deactivates these painful spots by applying finger pressure. You can expect some good outcome once your therapist has identified the trigger points as they help in managing fibromyalgia pain.
- Passive Stretching
Passive stretching uses external force, which is applied on a limb to adjust it into a new position. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia often experience stiff joints because of constant muscle spasms that accompanies the condition. Passive stretching of arms and legs can help loosen up stiff joints and muscles.
- Hot-Stone Massage
In this type of massage, heated smooth flat stones are placed on key points of the body as massage tools. This technique can help relieve pain and promote relaxation for people with fibromyalgia symptoms. It can also be combined with a myofascial release that involves the application of gentle pressure into the connective tissue. It helps to increases your range of motion by elongating muscle fibers.
How Massage Therapy Helps with Fibromyalgia
The therapeutic benefits of massage on people with fibromyalgia can be achieved when done consistently in combination with other medical treatments. The more you receive massage therapy, the healthier you feel. Massage therapy sessions can improve your quality of sleep and allow the body to heal and rejuvenate effectively at night. It also improves muscle tonicity for individuals with lethargic muscles, as it restores strength and vitality to the entire body.
Massage therapy can also relieve mental stress after a relaxing session. It diminishes the effects of depression and anxiety by restoring homeostasis of the body. The techniques used in massage therapy increase blood circulation, which can relieve headaches and gives peace of mind.
What to Expect During the Session?
If you are visiting a therapist for the first time, he or she will ask you a few questions to assess your condition. Some of the information you may provide include medical conditions, sensitivities, painful areas, and any concerns you think should be discussed. Although massage therapy can yield many benefits for patients with fibromyalgia, the first sessions might hurt at times as the body continues to adjust to the therapy. It is important to discuss this with your therapist beforehand. This helps determine the best time stop the massage.
For some people, it takes a few sessions to notice any significant benefits of a massage. However, most patients have experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms after their first session. It is common to feel floaty and relaxed after the massage but may not be the same case for everyone. Working muscles deeply releases free radicals and toxins from your body and can make you feel a little off at first. Other patients may experience some soreness directly after the massage, which may fade off with time. Taking a hot bath after your massage therapy can help relieve the soreness and improve your fibromyalgia symptoms.
A massage therapist needs to understand your condition and symptoms before the session. Keep in mind that massage techniques used to treat fibromyalgia may involve some trial and errors since not every treatment is perfect for everyone. A professional therapist can help customize a massage program that works best for you once they have a perfect understanding of your condition. In general, massage therapy can help relieve pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia when done by a licensed and well-trained therapist.